Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology Program

The disciplines of biology and chemistry are undergoing remarkable and converging transformations. In response to these new developments, Harvey Mudd College has established a unique opportunity for undergraduate students at the interface of biology and chemistry.

The goal is to enable students to think at the interface, to effortlessly move back and forth between chemistry and biology. They will have the background to appreciate the biological context of their research questions and they will have mastered the chemistry fundamentals that underlie the properties and reactions of biomolecules. These successful students will be able to make connections and have insights that are difficult to obtain without a thorough training in both chemistry and biology. The program in chemistry and biology will capture the imaginations of talented Harvey Mudd students and reinforce their abilities to think across disciplines.

Many schools have used the terms “biochemistry” or “biological chemistry” and some of the newer programs call themselves “chemical biology.” But since the boundaries between chemistry and biology as separate disciplines are rapidly dissolving, and students can choose to steer their studies in many directions, we chose to call it simply the “Joint Major in Chemistry and Biology.”

The Joint Major

  • CHEM051 HM Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Kinetics

    Credits: 3

    Instructor: Karukstis and Van Hecke

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Applications of thermodynamics to chemical and phase equilibria. Chemical kinetics in the gas phase, in solution and on solid surfaces.

    Prerequisites: CHEM024 HM and CHEM042 HM

  • CHEM056 HM Organic Chemistry I

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Brucks, Haushalter, Vosburg

    Offered: Fall

    Description: A systematic study of the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds, emphasizing synthesis, reaction mechanisms, and the relation of structure to observable physical and chemical properties.

    Prerequisites: CHEM042 HM and CHEM024 HM

  • CHEM105 HM Organic Chemistry II

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Brucks, Haushalter, Vosburg

    Offered: Spring

    Description: A continuation of the chemistry of carbon compounds.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM

    Concurrent requisites: CHEM111 HM is recommended

  • BIOL054 HM Experimental Biology Laboratory

    Credit: 1

    Instructors: Ahn, McFadden, Stoebel

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Investigations in physiology, biochemistry, ecology, molecular biol­ogy, and other areas of experimental biology.

    Corequisites: BIOL046 HM

    Concurrent requisites: BIOL154 HM

  • BIOL154 HM Biostatistics

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Donaldson-Matasci, Stoebel

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Statistical techniques for analyzing biological data, including parametric, nonparametric, and randomization methods. Statistical aspects of experimental design with an emphasis on analyzing data collected in BIOL054 HM.

    Prerequisites: CSCI005 HM, CSCI005GR HM, or CSCI042 HM

    Corequisites: BIOL046 HM

    Concurrent requisites: BIOL054 HM

  • BIOL111 HM Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory

    Credits: 2

    Instructors: Hur, Schulz, Stoebel

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Basic techniques of molecular biology, including restriction mapping, DNA cloning, protein expression, and fluorescence microscopy.

    Prerequisites: BIOL054 HM and BIOL154 HM

    Corequisites: BIOL113 HM

  • BIOL113 HM Molecular Genetics

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Hur, Schulz, Stoebel

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Molecular description of gene function in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, including DNA, RNA, and protein structure; DNA replication; transcription and translation; and gene regulation.

    Prerequisites: BIOL046 HM and CHEM042 HM

AND

  • CHEM103 HM Chemical Analysis

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Hawkins, Van Ryswyk

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Applications of chemical equilibria in qualitative and quantitative analysis with emphasis on inorganic systems. Introduction to electrochemistry, mass spectrometry, and chromatography.

    Prerequisites: CHEM042 HM and CHEM024 HM

    Concurrent requisites: CHEM109 HM is recommended

OR

  • CHEM104 HM Inorganic Chemistry

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Johnson, Van Heuvelen, Van Hecke

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Systematic study of the preparation, properties, structures, analysis, and reactions of inorganic compounds.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM; CHEM052 HM recommended

AND

  • BIOL182 HM Biochemistry

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Haushalter, Vosburg (Chemistry)

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Relation of molecular structure and energy flow to reactions in living systems.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM

OR

  • CHEM182 HM Biochemistry

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Brucks, Haushalter, Vosburg

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Relation of molecular structure and energy flow to metabolic reactions, signal transduction, and transport across membranes in living systems.

    Prerequisites: CHEM056 HM

AND

  • BIOL189 HM Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Haushalter, Schulz, Stoebel

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Advanced topics at the interface between chemistry and biology. Counts as a seminar course for Biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL113 HM and senior standing

OR

  • CHEM189 HM Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Haushalter, Schulz (Biology), Stoebel (Biology)

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Advanced topics at the interface between chemistry and biology. Counts as a seminar course for Biology majors.

    Prerequisites: BIOL113 HM and senior standing

Laboratories

AND

OR

AND

Two courses selected from:

  • CHEM053 HM Physical Chemistry Laboratory

    Credits: 2

    Instructor: Karukstis and Van Hecke

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Physical and chemical measurements of molecular properties.

    Corequisites: CHEM051 HM

  • CHEM109 HM Chemical Analysis Laboratory

    Credit: 1

    Instructors: Hawkins, Van Ryswyk

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Cooperative, project-based application of chemical analysis in a tropical marine ecosystem. Techniques include spectrophotometry, potentiometry, chromatography, and redox and complexometric titrations.

    Corequisites: CHEM103 HM

  • CHEM110 HM Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory

    Credit: 1

    Instructors: Johnson, Van Heuvelen

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds.

    Prerequisites: CHEM058 HM

    Corequisites: CHEM104 HM

  • CHEM111 HM Organic Chemistry II Laboratory

    Credit: 1

    Instructors: Brucks, Haushalter, Johnson, Vosburg

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Synthesis, characterization, and analysis of organic compounds.

    Prerequisites: CHEM058 HM

    Corequisites: CHEM105 HM

One Course Selected From

  • BIOL101 HM Comparative Physiology

    Credits: 3

    Instructor: Ahn

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Topics in the structural basis underlying general physiological mechanisms of plants and animals.

    Prerequisites: BIOL046 HM

  • BIOL108 HM Ecology and Environmental Biology

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Adolph, McFadden

    Offered: Spring

    Description: Principles of organization of natural communities and ecosystems, including population dynamics, species interactions, and island biogeography. Modern experimental and mathematical approaches to ecological problems. Application of ecological principles to conservation biology, human demography, and harvesting of natural resources.

    Prerequisites: BIOL046 HM and MATH019 HM

  • BIOL109 HM Evolutionary Biology

    Credits: 3

    Instructors: Adolph, McFadden

    Offered: Fall

    Description: Evolutionary mechanisms, including natural selection, population genetics, speciation, and macroevolutionary processes. Modern methods of phylogenetic reconstruction. History of biological diversity and the fossil record.

    Prerequisites: BIOL046 HM and MATH019 HM

Three Credits of Upper Division Biology Electives

Three elective credits of upper level Biology courses, to be selected by the student in consultation with her or his advisor.

Biology Colloquium and Chemistry Seminar

Two successive semesters of Biology Colloquium:

  • BIOL191 HM Biology Colloquium

    Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and spring

    Description: Oral presentations and discussions of selected topics including recent developments. Participants include biology majors, faculty members, and visiting speakers. Required for junior and senior biology majors. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/col­loquia.

    Prerequisites: HMC Biology (including joint majors) only.

AND

Two successive semesters of Chemistry Seminar:

  • CHEM199 HM Chemistry Seminar

    Credit: 0.5

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and spring

    Description: Presentations of contemporary research by students, faculty, and visiting scientists. Attendance by junior and senior majors is required. No more than 2.0 credits can be earned for departmental seminars/colloquia.

Joint chemistry and biology majors who study abroad may waive one semester of Chemistry Seminar. The student must request the waiver from the Chemistry department chair, and the waiver must be communicated by the department chair to the registrar.

Senior Thesis Research

Two semesters (at least 6 credits total) of Senior Thesis Research:

  • BIOL193 HM Senior Thesis Research: Biology

    Credits: 3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and spring

    Description: A year-long experimental investigation in biology under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral presentations, a written proposal, and a thesis are required. Required of all senior biology majors.

    Prerequisites: Permission of instructor

OR

  • BIOL195 HM Intensive Research in Biology

    Credits: 6

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall and spring

    Description: Intensive experimental research in biology undertaken in consultation with a faculty member. Replaces 3 credits of BIOL193 HM and 3 credits of advanced biology courses for credit toward biology major.

    Prerequisites: BIOL161 HM, and departmental approval of formal application

OR

  • CHEM151 HM Senior Thesis Research in Chemistry

    Credits: 2-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Fall

    Description: A yearlong experimental or computational investigation in chemistry under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral reports and a written thesis are required. Two or three credit hours per semester (2 credit hours equals a minimum of 6 hours of laboratory per week, 3 credit hours equals a minimum of 10 hours of laboratory per week: additional library time is required).

    Prerequisites: Senior standing

AND

  • CHEM152 HM Senior Thesis Research in Chemistry

    Credits: 2-3

    Instructor: Staff

    Offered: Spring

    Description: A yearlong experimental or computational investigation in chemistry under the direction of a faculty advisor. Two oral reports and a written thesis are required. Two or three credit hours per semester (2 credit hours equals a minimum of 6 hours of laboratory per week, 3 credit hours equals a minimum of 10 hours of laboratory per week: additional library time is required).

    Prerequisites: Senior standing

With approval of the biology and chemistry department chairs, students may substitute ENGR112 HM and ENGR113 HM for the senior thesis research requirement.

Note

In order to optimize their opportunities and to enable individual flexibility, students may request to count other courses not currently listed as biology electives. These other courses might include new biology courses developed at Harvey Mudd, cross-listed Harvey Mudd courses (e.g., topics in biological engineering), and appropriate courses offered by other Claremont Colleges. Prior approval, granted by the chairs of biology and chemistry, will be required to substitute electives.